The focal length of your lens affects your portraits, both in terms of subject distortion and the subject-background relationship. In this video, Julia Trotti demonstrates how this looks. She uses five prime lenses from 24mm to 135mm, so you can see just how much the change in focal length can change the final look of your image.
Julia uses a Canon 5D Mk IV paired with five different prime lenses, shooting from the widest 24mm up to the longest 135mm lens. These are the lenses:
- Sigma 24mm f/1.4
- Canon 35mm f/1.4Mk II
- Canon 50mm f/1.2Mk II
- Canon 85mm f/1.2Mk II
- Canon 135mm f/2.0
First, Julia photographs her model from the same distance and in the same location to demonstrate the difference between all five focal lengths. Then she moves onto moving around, or “zooming with her feet” in order to get full body shots of her model. In this example, you can clearly see how the subject-background relation changes, but also how the model seems more natural when photographed with longer lenses.
Then, Julia shoots landscape-oriented portraits, which is the composition she personally likes. Finally, she shoots portrait-oriented close-ups to demonstrate how each of the lenses performs in this case.
While longer lenses are generally preferred for portraits, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should ditch the wide-angle ones. Even though wide-angle lenses produce subject distortion, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on what you’re going for, and this distorted look can sometimes be your creative choice.
What’s your favorite portrait lens?
[Prime Lens Comparison! 24mm vs 35mm vs 50mm vs 85mm vs 135mm | Julia Trotti]